On the spot: Claire Allen & Alice Richardson
Two of England's top players in both the 15s and Sevens games, Claire Allan and Alice Richardson, answer our questions ahead of both the test Series with New Zealand and the first round of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series in Dubai.
What was your first rugby experience?
Claire Allen: Aged 13. A best friend at school introduced me
Alice Richardson: Playing U16s at Worcester RFC - first started when I was 14.
And your first match?
CA: For an U14s side somewhere in the depths of rainy Surrey!
AR: I played for Worcester U16s in the U16 league at outside centre where I started playing. My first senior women's match was in the premiership on the first team pitch at Worcester Six Ways against Saracens.
When did you know that rugby was what you wanted to do?
CA: When I realised how unrestrictive it was! I played lots of netball, hockey and athletics as a kid, but fell in love with rugby and the team camaraderie as soon as I started.
AR: After being called up for England U19s when I was 16 and getting to play at U19 international level.
What do you like to eat before a match?
CA: Poached eggs on toast and a decent strong coffee.
AR: Favourite breakfast.... pancakes, bacon and maple syrup. Got to be a good coffee with it.
Which part of training do you dread the most?
CA: Tackling and mauling practice in the cold and rain. I'm definitely a fair weather player!
AR: Mauling in the cold, wet, wind and rain! Graham our forwards coach's favourite!
What do you like doing outside of rugby?
CA: Drinking coffee and eating out with good friends.
AR: Training and Cross Fit, working as a personal trainer and socialising with my friends
Who are your sporting idols?
CA: Michael Johnson - USA 400m runner. World record holder. Growing up as a kid I loved athletics, he was a very inspirational athlete. Plus his gold spikes were awesome.
AR: Jessica Ennis, Roger Federer.
What is your favourite sporting memory?
CA: Playing in the Sevens World Cup in Dubai 2009. Although it was a disappointing result for us, the journey as a group of players that took us there was unforgettable.
AR: Winning Hong Kong Sevens in 2012 against Australia in the final.
What are you most looking forward to on this year's Series?
CA: Can't wait to be back in mix with the England girls after a long time out with injury. Touring with a group of your best mates doesn't really get much better.
AR: The opportunity to be involved in the highest standard of competition in women's game.
Who do you think is going to win the first IRB Women's Sevens World Series?
CA: Tough question. There are so many nations on form and training hard at the moment. I'll say either New Zealand, Australia, Canada, USA or England to take the title. It's going to be an exciting series! Let the games begin.
AR: It will be a close call but i'll back England of course!
England kick off their Sevens World Series campaign in Dubai with tough pool matches against Spain, South Africa and Brazil. FULL MATCH SCHEDULE >>